Photo from 19 Wing Comox

I was just preparing a post on the Long Beach sand dunes (at the Wickaninnish Beach end of Long Beach) when this happened.

The dunes were used for target practice during and after World War II, so this isn’t a particular surprise. (Still, it’s a slightly unnerving one!)

Here is the Press Release from the Air Force:

19 Wing explosives experts destroy World War II mortar round in Tofino

19 WING COMOX— Personnel from 19 Explosives Disposal Flight (19 EDF) safely destroyed a World War II mortar round in the Long Beach area of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Sunday afternoon.

The unexploded mortar round was discovered in the Wickaninnish Sand Dunes by a Parks Canada volunteer who was helping staff with the restoration of the sand dune ecosystem.  Upon discovering the 2 inch, high explosive round, they immediately marked its position with GPS coordinates and called the 19 Wing Comox Operations Centre to report the find.

The EDF members arrived to deal with the device, a dangerous reminder of when the area was used for training during the Second World War.  Because the mortar round was found in an area that has since been declared “ecologically sensitive”, sandbags were stacked around the object to protect the EDF members and minimize the spray of shrapnel into the surrounding environment.

Once all bystanders were moved to a safe distance, the mortar round was safely detonated on the beach and the remains of the sandbags and shrapnel were removed.

Recovering and destroying old ammunition is of great importance to the Canadian Forces.  Unexploded ordnance must be treated with extreme caution and should be reported to local police or the nearest Canadian Forces base when found.

Members of 19 EDF are specially trained to identify and dispose of a wide range of ammunition and explosives.  Regionally, members of 19 EDF are the first responders to deal with any military explosives and are regularly called upon to dispose of hazards such as unearthed or souvenir munitions and Marine Locator Markers washing up on the beach.  To report findings, please contact local law enforcement or the 19 Wing Operations Centre at 1-866-488-0889.

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